What’s Wrong with Job Boards?

What’s wrong with job boards?

Nothing, in my opinion.

However, from the ridiculous overabundance of articles, comments, and recruiting conference content that trashes job boards as if they are the worst source of hire, I am obviously in the clear minority.

I continue to see and hear well respected thought leaders in the staffing industry make claims that the value of the job boards is waning and that the quality of candidates on the job boards is low, and it hasn’t slowed down.

Because there is such a strong belief that job boards somehow only offer low quality candidates, I am taking the time to offer a different point of view, as well as leverage statistics to prove that the job boards have the same percentage of “A” players as LinkedIn or any other source of hire.

News Flash: Job Boards Still Very Much Alive

Weren’t the job boards supposed to die, like, 5 years ago?

Funny how that didn’t happen.

It so didn’t happen that they are responsible for more hires than any other source other than referrals.

The most recent CareerXRoads Source of Hire Report showed that job boards are still pretty effective, weighing in at the #2 spot.

 

 

The facts do not support the belief that job boards are an “ineffective” source of hire.

As you can see, job boards also solidly crush social media as a source of hire, which I am sure most people find a tough pill to swallow, especially given that “social recruiting” is supposed to be a magical solution to all hiring troubles.

Um, wasn’t social media supposed to kill the job boards?

I am sure that it’s supposed to happen any day now, but something tells me that even in the next few years, while the talk of social media killing job boards will continue, the source of hire statistics and surveys will continue to tell a different story.

Job Board Dependence?

I’ve heard many talent acquisition leaders talk about a desire to reduce their “dependence” on job boards.

At first, this seems like a logical desire, but I think it’s important to ask why anyone would feel like they are “dependent” upon job boards.

I think it ultimately comes down to the fact that companies don’t like writing big checks to job boards to post their jobs.

If job boards like Monster, CareerBuilder and others were free, do you think anyone would complain about being “dependent” on job boards and the need to reduce that dependence on a source that effectively produces a significant number of hires?

Think about it.

Is there any other reason why people like Indeed over Monster or CareerBuilder other than cost?

And what is Indeed anyway?

Don’t think it’s a “job board?”

Try Googling “job board” and see what comes up in the #1 sponsored spot and the #3 organic spot.

 

 

Pretty much the same “job board” search results from Bing as well.

If you don’t think Indeed is a job board, I really don’t care what you call it – a job board aggregator, a “job site,” it doesn’t matter.

By the way, the CareerXroads study I referenced above categorizes Indeed and SimplyHired as job boards.

Regardless, the bottom line is that Indeed is a place where people go to search for jobs, and it’s specifically designed for people to find jobs.

More on this in a bit.

Source of Hire Snobbery

What’s the difference between someone who applies to one of your jobs they found on:

  • Your corporate careers page?
  • LinkedIn?
  • Indeed.com?
  • Monster or CareerBuilder?
  • A niche job board?
  • Google or Bing?
  • Facebook?
  • Twitter?

Anything?

Is posting a job on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, or Twitter really any different than posting a job on a job board, other than cost, perhaps?

Think twice on the cost point, because job postings on LinkedIn and the ones you push to social media through services like Jobs2Web aren’t exactly “cheap.”

And when it comes to candidate response, if you get an applicant from your job posting on Facebook, are they somehow a great candidate because they came from a sexier source of hire than Monster or some other job board?

Think about it.

Job Boards Serve a Purpose

Do you really want to know why job boards haven’t died?

It’s because they actually serve a logical purpose.

Quite simply, job boards represent a purpose-built talent marketplace, not dissimilar from Amazon or eBay.

When people want to buy things, they go to stores or to websites where the things they want can be found for sale – especially places where they have the highest probability of finding what they’re looking for.

When people want to buy a car, they go to a car dealership, because that’s where the cars are.

When people want to search for a new job, they should be able to go to a place where they can find jobs.

While you can find jobs posted just about anywhere, the logical place to go when you are looking to see what job opportunities might be available for you would be a place where the most jobs are (job aggregators such as Indeed, large job boards like Monster or CareerBuilder), as well as perhaps places that specialize in the specific type of job opportunities you’re interested in (niche job boards).

I think this is actually one of the main reasons why job boards will likely always be a bigger source of hire by percentage than social media for any company with a significant volume of hires.

People finding or being forwarded job opportunities via social media is more by happenstance, whereas people finding and responding to jobs on job boards is more by design.

Why do you think Indeed is the #1 online source of external hire according to a study conducted by SilkRoad involving over 700 employers?

It’s simply because it makes sense to most people to go to a place where they know they will be able to find a large number of jobs from a number of sources.

Now, let’s remember you can pay to sponsor jobs on Indeed, and they now have a resume database.

Does that business model sound familiar?

Job Board Candidate Quality Concerns

Here is but one example taking a shot at job board candidate quality:

““A” players are not looking at or responding to print ads, nor do they have their resumes posted on job boards. They cannot be located by a keyword search.” “This leaves the B and C players who have their resumes posted actively searching the job boards to answer your ads and apply for your job. Many of the candidates in this arena have been downsized from their positions due to lack of performance, or their job was expendable. The process of posting ads and searching job boards will yield results, but the result will yield the best candidates available — from the worst talent pool.”

Really?

By that logic, anyone who responds to a job posting anywhere – on a job board, via social media – isn’t an “A” player.

Also, why would someone posting their updated profile on LinkedIn and responding to your job posting on LinkedIn be any different?

This stinks of source of hire snobbery, as well as plain old unfounded opinion.

Statements like the one above also reek of prejudice and stereotyping.

Wikipedia states that a stereotype can be a conventional and oversimplified conception, opinion, or image, based on the assumption that there are attributes that members of the “other group” (in this case, job board candidates) have in common.

Stereotypes are sometimes formed by a previous illusory correlation, a false association between two variables that are loosely correlated if correlated at all.

Illusory correlation is the phenomenon of seeing the relationship one expects in a set of data even when no such relationship exists, and when people tend to overestimate a link between two variables. However, the correlation is often slight or not at all.

I firmly believe that illusory correlation runs rampant when people claim that people who respond to job postings and post their resumes online are all “B and C players.”

I also believe that job boards – both the people who respond to posted jobs as well as those who post their resumes online – represent a cross section of the entire potential candidate universe, and as such, a normal distribution (bell curve).

From what I can tell, it seems to pretty much be a statistical inevitability.

You’ll have a small percentage of horrible candidates, a large percentage of average candidates, and a small percentage of top-notch talent.

The same is true of any company at any one point in time – so if you cold called through a company directory, you’d likely hit the same statistical inevitability: some bad, lots okay/good, some great.

I’ll argue that the same is true of LinkedIn, Facebook, Internet, or sourcing of every type.

Here are 3 points to think about before saying or believing that the job boards intrinsically have poor quality candidates:

#1 Statistics

I am definitely not an expert on statistics, but I would argue that the people who enter their resumes into the job board databases are a random sample of the total job seeker population.

With some help from Wikipedia to help me concisely explain these points, a random sample is one chosen by a method involving an unpredictable component (which is fair to say in this case, because who can argue that we can accurately predict the subjective and objective “quality” of people who post their resumes online?).

The sample will usually be completely representative of the population from which it was drawn – in this case, job seekers. In the case of random samples, mathematical theory is available to assess the sampling error.

Thus, estimates obtained from random samples can be accompanied by measures of the uncertainty associated with the estimate.

This can take the form of a standard error, or if the sample is large enough for the central limit theorem to take effect.

The Central Limit Theorem (CLT) states that the sum of a large number of independent and identically-distributed random variables will be approximately normally distributed (i.e., following a Gaussian distribution, or bell-shaped curve, or “normal distribution”) if the random variables have a finite variance.

What this all means is that in statistics, it’s generally accepted that if the sample is large and taken at random (selected without prejudice), then it quite accurately represents the statistics of the population, such as distribution probability, mean, standard deviation, etc.

Most of the major job boards claim to have 30M+ candidates in their resume databases – that’s a pretty LARGE sample of the job seeking population, so hopefully you can see where I am going with this.

Additionally, I could reference the Law of Large Numbers, which if you boil down all of the technical statistics-speak when you look it up, basically says that the larger the random sample size, the more likely that it “guarantees” stable long-term results for random events.

“Stable” results in our case would be that the majority of candidates on the job boards are “average” – with fewer horrible “undesirables” and fewer “A” candidates (see the bell curve coming?).

#2 The candidate’s perspective

And now for the very unscientific side of the equation…why do people post their resumes online or reply to jobs posted on job boards?

From the perspective of an average job seeker, many people see the job boards as an online marketplace, not unlike eBay.

Most people who are not in HR/recruiting don’t actually view the major job boards with disdain like so many in HR and recruiting do.

If a job seeker relies solely on searching job postings online, they are being proactive in seeking employment, but they are reliant on the reactive response of the firms they reply to – and let’s be honest – most candidates do experience the “black hole” effect when they respond to job postings (auto-responders don’t count here).

This can lead many candidates to seek to take more control over the process and be actively sought out by opting to post their resume into a resume database so they can be actively found and pursued by potential employers – kind of like posting something on eBay so that people looking for that thing can find it and attempt to acquire it.

Many candidates pursue both paths, thinking they’ll cover both angles.

Let’s also realize that some people have not had to switch jobs in the past 5-10 years, and most people are not professional job seekers.

For many of these people, they simply respond to the advertisements of the major job boards as the “new” way of finding a job as compared to the last time they may have had a career transition.

Why not let 100’s of recruiters try and find you the best opportunity?

Aside from the experience they may have with poor recruiters, this is not a bad value proposition. Many people aren’t even aware of how many calls they will get once they do post their resume.

But just because they get a large quantity of calls, it does not mean they get a large quantity of quality calls – calls for positions that are very close to their ideal career opportunity.

And what about the idea that the best people (aka – the “A” players) all have a magical network of people who can automatically find them their next optimal career opportunity without them having to look online?

Admittedly, some people do have this magical network – but even so, there is no guarantee that this network can provide the ideal job opportunity at the right time.

I have a large network – and if I were to leave my employer – I would certainly leverage it.

However, I do not for one second think that this network can be guaranteed to offer me the best possible match for me, nor all of the other fantastic opportunities out there that neither I nor my network can provide me.

I could point back to the eBay analogy – if I am looking to sell something, why would I only limit myself to the people I know?

My main point here is that it is not only the “bad” candidates that decide to post their resumes online or respond to job postings – it’s actually statistically impossible, given random sampling, the Central Limit Theorem, and the Law of Large Numbers.

#3 Sourcer/Recruiter Talent and Ability

I’d also like to take this time to comment on database and talent mining expertise.

I have recruited and placed many “A+” candidates (as judged by Fortune 500 hiring managers) from the job boards that my clients and competitors also had access to.

This includes a position for a Network Performance Tester at Google that literally hundreds of agency and contract recruiters had been working unsuccessfully for 4 months.

How is it that no one else found these people?

Did I get lucky?

Only if you can get “lucky” consistently.

Just because many people have access to a database, it is not safe to assume that everyone can find the same candidates, or find ALL of the qualified candidates, or find the BEST candidates in that database.

Perhaps the people who are always claiming the job board resume databases have low quality candidates lack the proficiency to actually FIND the high quality candidates.

Final Thoughts

There’s nothing wrong with job boards.

They serve a purpose, and as long as people want to go to a place where they know they will gain easy access to either a large number of job opportunities, or a small number of highly specific job opportunities, job boards will continue to exist and be a significant source of hire.

I think one of the main reasons why people in HR/recruiting don’t like job boards is because they cost money. Most people don’t seem to view Indeed or SimplyHired the same way they view Monster or CareerBuilder, and the only difference is that it always costs money to post your jobs on the latter and not the former.

Let’s keep in mind that some things are worth paying for. You may not think that you should have to pay to post your jobs online and get solid exposure, and with Indeed and SimplyHired, you in fact may not have to. However, when it comes to the resumes you have access to on job board resume databases, let’s not forget that actionable data is valuable. Having access to mobile numbers and email addresses is worth paying for IMHO.

Too many people believe the hype that job board candidates are low quality, but it’s simply not true.

If you’re one of those people, please take a moment to consider the laws of statistics, and exactly why people search for jobs anywhere before you are quick to assume that the job boards can only produce low quality talent.

With regard to the normal distribution of job seekers represented on the job boards – the exact shape of the bell curve could be disputed, flatter in the middle or more sharply peaked – but I hope I at least provoked some thought by challenging the apparently widely held belief that most job board candidates are not desirable, and that conversely most of the “good” candidates are not on the job boards.

I hope you appreciated that I drew upon some statistical and mathematical theories rather than sticking to subjective opinion only and pushing prejudicial stereotypes.

And by the way, how do you think the average job seeker would feel if they knew you assumed that simply because they responded to your job posting on a job board (including Indeed, or LinkedIn, or Facebook, etc.) or that you found their resume in a job board database that they were desperate or a poor quality candidate?

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About Glen Cathey

Glen Cathey is a sourcing and recruiting thought leader with over 16 years of experience working in large staffing agency and global RPO environments (>1,000 recruiters and nearly 100,000 hires annually). Starting out his career as a top producing recruiter, he quickly advanced into senior management roles and now currently serves as the SVP of Strategic Talent Acquisition and Innovation for Kforce, working out of their renowned National Recruiting Center with over 300 recruiters. Often requested to speak on sourcing and recruiting best practices, trends and strategies, Glen has traveled internationally to present at many talent acquisition conferences (5X LinkedIn Talent Connect - U.S. '10, '11, '12, Toronto '12, London '12, 2X Australasian Talent Conference - Sydney & Melbourne '11, '12, 6X SourceCon, 2X TruLondon, 2X HCI) and is regularly requested to present to companies (e.g., PwC, Deloitte, Intel, Booz Allen Hamilton, Citigroup, etc.). This blog is his personal passion and does not represent the views or opinions of anyone other than himself.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/bengotkin Ben

    A lot of great points here.  I have felt for a long time that I don’t care where the talent comes from, I’ll take a great candidate from just about anywhere.  I agree that Job Boards serve a purpose, but in my experience, they work best for certain types of jobs.  In professions and geographic areas where you have an abundance of quality talent actively or semi-actively looking for new career opportunities, job boards can be an excellent resource of talent.  When you have a scarcity of available talent for certain roles however, I have seen first hand that your resources are often better spent elsewhere to attract and enage that talent, and we’re not necessarily talking social media here.  In those cases, those resources are better spent leveraging your networks and the networks of your employees to target and identify the right pool of talent.  Ultimately, you need a broad range of resources to successfully attract and engage talent.  If you ONLY rely on job boards, then your talent pool will include only those candidates who happened to find your job when they happened to be looking, and then were compelled enough to apply.  And the chances of that talent pool containing highly relevant are…   Which leads to the biggest problem with job boards, they make it too easy for unqualified, non-relevant candidates to apply, which just creates more noise in the system for recruiters to have to wade through.

    Let’s face it, most satisfied or somewhat satisfied actively employed professionals don’t use job boards.  They may use them at the time when they are ready to make a career move, but in many cases, they are looking to leverage their networks first.  In my previous life in public accounting, accounting professionals at the Director and Partner level rarely ever used job boards.  They either needed to be found through direct sourcing, they would work through the headhunter that placed them (or was a client of theirs) previously, or they would reach out through their extensive networks.  But you know what, if I ever found one through a job board posting, I wouldn’t turn them away!

  • http://www.booleanblackbelt.com Glen Cathey

    Ben,
    Thank you for your comment and thoughts – I think we are on the same page.

    For many reasons, including the ones you reference, I do believe that proactive sourcing is superior to posting jobs – not sure if you caught my article on why sourcing is more effective than posting jobs?

    http://www.booleanblackbelt.com/2011/06/why-sourcing-is-superior-to-posting-jobs-for-talent/

    However, I stand by my position that people who claim that job boards are ineffective, the worst source of hire, or that job boards only produce desperate “B and C” players at best, are wrong and are certainly basing their opinions on illusory correlation and certainly not on facts.

    “Job Boards” is too broad anyway – most people throw stones at the big boards, forgetting that Indeed is a job board, that corporate careers sites are technically job boards in their functionality (for single employers), and that niche and diversity job boards can play a valuable role.

  • http://twitter.com/smashfly Chris Brablc

    Glen – Nice comprehensive article.  I think the question many organizations need to be able to answer in terms of the recruitment sources (job boards, social, sourcing, etc.) they use is where is the most value and best ROI coming from.

    As they screen candidates and are determining if they are qualified or not, companies need to be able to track every qualified candidate and hire back to the source.  This will help them determine the real value that a recruitment source is providing to your organization so they can determine if the money they’re spending on it is really worth it.

    The importance here is tracking quality instead of just hire.  While hire is important you really want to determine the consistent quality that your varying sources produce.

    One last caveat on this.  We work with a company that we’ve helped track these quality metrics for each source.  They have since used this data to go back to different job boards and recruitment sources and re-negotiate their recruitment spend for the ones that were “under-performing”.  Another good way to utilize the data you are capturing and get more out of your recruiting budget.

    Thanks,

    Chris

  • Cornel Mueller

    Hi Glen, very interesting post! Question: Do you make a difference between Job Boards and Job Search Engines?

  • Christine

    Greg, great thought leadership. As for every other activity that cannot be delegated to a computer, job boards results do not guarantee success but are not unsuccessful either, it all depends on how well the job is presented (human activity) and how well the applicants are screened and interviewed (other human activity:)

  • Steven

    I’ve actually had a lot of success recently with candidates I’ve sourced off the boards (Dice, Monster, Careerbuilder). They are gold mines and go back YEARS – I don’t care, skill sets are still the same ;) I also still have a phone number, email address that are accurate 75% of the time. There is also something called LinkedIn where you can cross reference these “old” and “worthless” resumes. Great post Glen – as someone VERY green in the industry, I appreciate your blog and insight 

  • Jonathan

    Well argued Glen. People are people, the whole active/ passive debate is a myth. Getting inside the head of your target candidate is more important than the source of hire. Being agnostic is essential. The only real threat to the job board is a well SEO’d careers site and even then consumers (jobseekers) want choice and a marketplace offers exactly that choice. The skills are finding, communicating, convincing and retaining. Even if you find 90% of your talent on social sites it does not mean you will find your next hire there. The human mind (System 1) does not understand statistics hence we are flawed in our source of hire decisions.
    Job boards do generally suffer from dated UI’s and should embrace social graph features as the typical user increasingly expects these things but social supports a web experience, it doesn’t replace it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jaccov Jacco Valkenburg

    Glen, no offense intended but this is just another opinion. 

    However there is research that shows that Job Boards are driving lower quality candidates. You may have read research that referral hires are the best quality candidates because these hires perform better, are happier in their job and stay longer. Also, companies that do measure the quality of hires have noticed that candidates from Job Boards are on average of lower quality; you’ll need more applicants to fill a position then other sources and they perform average. See for example the performance of new hires after 2 years at Philips USA in my presentation http://www.slideshare.net/Jacco/deep-dive-into-linkedin-solutions-and-applications (page 1, How do you find the best candidates).

    I’m not saying that Job Boards are ineffective, it’s often a good way of filling vacancies, but you have to realise that you open the doors for Ms./Mr. Average as interviews are not a good way of predicting success or performance in a job.

  • http://www.booleanblackbelt.com Glen Cathey

    Always nice to have a comment from you Jacco.

    No offense taken, although I think you may have missed the whole point of my article, as well as a few things in my nearly 3,000 word post, or at least you didn’t address them.

    With regard to the Slideshare you link to (very strategic of you, btw) – “targeted sourcing” is apparently is a higher quality of hire than referrals, correct? I don’t see any supporting information that details how the targeted sourcing was performed (e.g., cold calling directly into companies, LinkedIn, resume databases, the Internet, etc.), which is unfortunate. If you have that information, would you please share it?

    What would also be helpful would be to see the percent of hires based on source of hire. If a company gets 30% of their hires from referrals, and they are all top performers – that’s wonderful. However, someone has to figure out how to fill the remaining 70% of the positions more effectively in some manner other than via referrals. For any company with moderate to high levels of hiring activity, referrals will not likely ever be responsible for the majority of hires, because referral rates and volumes are intrinsically limited.

    Also, there is no information explaining the source of the referrals, which is unfortunate, because the breakdown in the type of referrals would be more telling, IMO. For example, are they employee referrals, external networking referrals, or other?

    Unless my eyes deceive me, “advertising” has a higher % of top performers than “referrals” as a source of hire. The fact that “advertising” also has a larger % of bottom performers as well doesn’t reflect poorly on the source of hire – it reflects poorly on the ability of the company to screen and select top talent, which would be the root cause of the bottom performers, not where they came from. Contemplate this.

    I did not claim that job boards are the highest quality source of hire – the whole point of my article is that you should not prejudiciously stereotype 100% of the people from the job boards (including company job sites, which are job boards) as Ms./Mr. Average, or B and C players. If you do, you are ignoring reality.

    Interestingly, at 160M+ profiles, and as there is no quality filter to LinkedIn, statistically there are more B and C (and D and F) players on LinkedIn than any major job board, by quantity alone.

    I’m sorry, but there is no refuting the intrinsic laws of statistics with a random sample size of nearly 200M people.

    Also, I like to point out that while LinkedIn is not a “job board,” per se, it does quite obviously share some of the major characteristics of job boards (e.g., post and apply with your CV-like profile, paid job posting, etc.), and a great many people in recruiting use it as such (e.g., search for profiles filled out exactly as CV’s, post jobs and review applicants, etc.). Of course, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of this (why would there be?), although I know many people shudder to acknowledge the facts.

    I’ll end with a couple of questions:

    If someone applies to a job posting on LinkedIn and gets hired, are they to be classified as a “social media” source of hire?

    If someone runs a search on a job board resume database, finds and calls someone and gets a referral and that referral gets hired, what is the source of hire? Referral? Job board?

    Nice linking, by the way. I liked the bottom of slide 9.

  • Pingback: How do you measure recruitment quality? « SmashFly Recruitment Marketing Technology Blog

  • http://www.recruit2.nl Jacco Valkenburg

    Hi Glen, thanks very much for your detailed response and you raise some valid and good questions. Let me share my opinion and a few more stats.

    First of all, I’ve noticed that I need only half the number of candidates that apply via Job Postings on LinkedIn to fill one vacancy. In other words, I need twice the number of applicants from the (best performing) traditional Job Board to fill one vacancy. I think it’s fair to say that the quality of the applicants is higher and LinkedIn Jobs are more effective. Unfortunately I haven’t got the data on their performance yet (in relation to other sources).

    I think most recruiters have experienced that the post-and-pray method of using Job Boards for hard-to-fill positions is not very effective. I bet you didn’t fill the Network Performance Tester at Google with a job posting?

    With regards to the ‘law of statistics’, I think your ignoring the most important element out of the equation; the candidate! A passive candidate, who’s not looking around and happy in his current job, will think twice about accepting a new job offer so he/she will make sure that the next job is a perfect match and a logical next step in his/her career. I think this the is best quality filter…
    An active jobseeker will accept any job you throw at them. This is THE reason why you see as many bad performing hires as good performing hires, from people who applied via adverts. The same goes for the quality of candidates that come via contingency agencies, who are in most cases just masters in job advertising (and sending the first 3 candidates who remotely qualify).

    So, thanks to a mutual stronger match, a Targeted Sourcing (=executive search) and referrals are superior approach and deliver good quality hires.

    Another reason is that people who are referred by other people, know their strengths/weakness and the needs of the company or team. You don’t get this information from a CV.

    I fully agree that this reflects poorly on the ability of the company to screen and select top talent from people who apply for jobs. But this also the reason why internal promotions and campus recruitment are such a good quality source. These candidates have already completed a job assessment i.e. previous job or internship within the company!

    Bytheway, the horizontal axes in the Slideshare presentation represents the number of employees (not percentage).

    In my current corporate IT recruitment project, I fill vacancies mostly via internal hires (40%) and 33% via referrals. Job Boards, including LinkedIn Jobs, are good for approx 20% of all hires. The rest is via direct sourcing. But if I had more time, or less vacancies, I’d spend more efforts in direct sourcing because I don’t really need Job Boards to fill all jobs and I truly believe that it delivers the best candidates in the long run.

    When I find and call someone, get a (external) referral and that referral gets hired, the source of hire is Targeted Sourcing. When I talk about Referrals, I mean Employee Referrals.

  • http://twitter.com/MurraysWhoTweet MurraysWhoTweet

    The reason job boards attract a poor quality of candidate is largely due to the amount of inane, often incomprehensible, grammatically tainted  job ads with all the allure of a dead sheep that so many recruiters put on them.

    A cut and pasted job description fired out to a dozen job boards in the belief that the more people you reach the better the response will be is a totally uneducated way of doing things. Job boards can and do work if the message you put out there is right and you have targeted the right audience. The trouble is, only some recruiters know how to eke out the right message and write an advertisement that actually appeals to quality candidates whilst screening out the response they don’t want. The result? Lots of irrelevant response from totally unqualified people and the impression that job boards have had their day. It;s not at all true.

    Any direct employer worth their salt knows that first impressions count and every job ad is an opportunity to market your company as much as it is posting a vacancy online. That’s why the clever ones invest in working with an advertising agency and getting their ciopy written professionally. In short, the message you put out on the job board is what is destroying your chances of success. Think about it, identify what makes the job worth having and why it is the ideal person would want to work for this company rather than the one down the road, then talk about it! Reach out to the reader’s emotions. Give them something to think about. Add a bit of allure to your job posts. Oh and make it quite clear what sort of skills and experience they will need in order to apply. Go on, try it. At the very least at least people will read your job posts and think “hey, they know what they’re doing”, whereas right now there is a good chance that many of you reading this fall into the quick cut and paste of the dull and boring job description camp. That’s what’s killing your chances, a lack of allure, a lack of professionalism and a lack of targetting.

  • Marc Drees

    There are many things wrong with job boards but there is nothing wrong with the job board concept. It is in the execution of that concept where things fail. Since most job boards fail in more or less the same way (poor candidate experience, limited search quality, job boards take no responsibility in the quality of job ads, in the prevention of work-from-home scam and other hoaxes, in ensuring job advertisers follow up with applicants in a respectful and timely fashion, etc. etc.) and job seekers have no real idea of how bad things are, job boards continue to provide a service.

  • Richard Neil

    As a professional recuiter I find that specific Client branded adverts do enhance the range and depth of candidates that are available for opportunities. 

    Good and bad candidates can come from any source be it referrals, job boards or the good old database search tools that we use.

    It is the recruiters responsibility to ensure that an advert is worded and presented to reach the target audience and then to qualifiy the standard of the applicants.  Yes, you will get some serial job applicants who apply to anything they see but they will find their way to your door whatever the medium you use. 

    Working with clients in the Not for Profit sectors you can attract exceptional candidates just because of the type of client you deal with that otherwise might not make the shortlist.  I have recent examples of a candidate taking a very large pay cut because they want to work for a specific organisation.

    I will always continue to use job boards in addition to other social networking while I continue to get a good quality of response. 

  • http://twitter.com/UKTalentBroker UKTalentBroker

    Great article once again, I love this blog! (very common sense oriented). I am a firm believer that Job Boards are a great source and in my opinion the best source of candidates. Set aside the fact that you get a contact block available without the need for a lengthy social media courtship, they expect a call from a recruiter and welcome it. Having candidates that are motivated to talk to you about a move is vital.
    The arguments for these topics are born from the fundamental difference in attitude between an agency recruiter and an in-house recruiter. Good agency recruiters see opportunity in a marketable candidate irrespective of whether they are suitable for the job they applied.  In-house people only have one brief to fill so the chances of that candidate being placeable go way down the scale. This makes the point about candidates being of inferior quality completely moot. Listing candidates as A grade or B grade is lunacy, there is a job for everyone at some level. So called B grade candidates that are cutting code for a dull manufacturer are no less a code cutter than those in top tier banks. Social talent hunters seem to think that their employer only wants the top 10% of candidates but the complexity of what makes an employee effective and employable goes way beyond what is detailed on a LinkedIn profile. Job adverts and database summary statements when written well do half the work for a recruiter, I have placed the majority of my candidates spanning 14 years in IT recruitment from Job boards.
    The people who bash them are the same people that bash the agencies. It is just about cost, and in some cases the in-house recruiters have a restricted access to certain job boards so feel the need to rubbish them as recruitment tools in an effort to reinforce their worth and justify the enormous (unpublished) cost of in-house recruiting (which is a blog topic in its own right). Finally LinkedIn definitely  need to “come out” they are a job board (an expensive one at that!).

  • http://twitter.com/UKTalentBroker UKTalentBroker

    Where is the research that you suggest says referral hires perform better?
    I can’t believe for one second that where you attracted the candidate from has any bearing on how long they stay or how effective they are, surely there are way too many variables in people for that to stack up.

  • http://www.recruit2.nl Jacco Valkenburg

    I assumed everyone knew this already but let me refer you to a recent great article from Dr. John Sullivan on ERE with more evidence then you need; http://www.ere.net/2012/05/07/10-compelling-numbers-that-reveal-the-power-of-employee-referrals/

    Have you looked at the Philips USA quality of hire report in my presentation? I know that these results are hard to believe for agency recruiters but they make sense to me (see my detailed response below).

  • http://twitter.com/RichardLepley Richard Lepley

    Great article. I’m impressed by the amount of thought that went in to this piece. I think it was well written, but appreciate even more the explanation of the reasons behind your positions. As a job seeker myself, I am biased toward believing that job boards contain all caliber of candidates. And as someone else commented, every job seeker is not a match for every position. It is the responsibility of the HR person to make sure only the square pegs go in the square holes, figuratively speaking.

  • http://twitter.com/AllenDublinJobs Stephen Harrington

    As someone who has recently moved back into a day to day recruitng environment, I have been spending a lot of time looking at the effectiveness of various sources. Job boards do form a necessary part of our sourcing strategy, additionally I have been creating other direct channels through blogging (www.allenrecruitmentjobs.ie). What I have found however in the use of job boards is that not everyone is using them effectively. This leads to not getting the right candidates to apply for jobs and getting many of the worng kind applying. It is very important to focus on the quality of the adverts being writter but also focusing on the optimisation of job titles & categories (particularly when posting on LinkedIN) to ensure that adverts are seen by the right candidates.

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  • SM

    http://www.sapjobseurope.com – free job posting job board for SAP permanent and contract SAP jobs

  • http://www.transformtalentacquisition.com Mark Tortorici

    Great post, Glen. I’m clearly late to the party here. Over 2 years…LOL. But I believe that job boards do serve some purpose. I think that the way companies and hiring managers look at job board candidates as “B” and “C” players is sometimes unfounded and a little snobbish. But on the flip side, it’s partially because many of the candidates on job boards are heavier in the consulting game. And that doesn’t sit well with hiring managers who are looking to build out a next-gen perm team who will stick with the company for many years.

    Now that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some resumes of candidates who fit the bill, I know there are some. In fact, at my previous company we hired some for perm positions. But I have spent a ton of time looking at 10^8 resumes on multiple job boards and there were quite of a lot of the hired-gun types. Obviously in the agency world, the job boards are used more. And there are a TON of staffing agencies that use board resumes only! I worked at a couple of agencies myself, so I know how that is.

    Bottom line for sourcers and recruiters, the job board is one of the tools in your swiss-army knife that you will use to survive. By no means is it the only one. It you discount the tool, then you miss the one candidate who just happens to be the perfect hire. This goes for agency sourcers/recruiters or full-time corporate ones.

    - Mark Tortorici